EXCLUSIVE: Vogel Responds to Reeves Allegations
by Senator Jill Vogel
In recent weeks, the Lieutenant Governor’s race was the subject of negative scrutiny driven over false allegations against me that require a response. Other than immediately denying any involvement and pledging to look into this matter, I have remained silent while we conducted a thorough internal investigation.
After Christmas, it came to my attention that I was the target of a political stunt that involved someone using the open internet accessible from my neighborhood to send what evidence shows to be two emails from a person named Martha.
I only learned about the email allegation when my former satellite internet provider delivered a letter to an address where I no longer live. This followed an earlier letter from the company that was never delivered and returned to the sender due to a bad address. A Senate colleague later called to inform me that Senator Reeves had information tying me to a negative email and that if I did not get out of the race by January 1, he would go to the Washington Post with the allegation and file a lawsuit against me. This attempt at extortion, over information never confirmed and from a close, long time colleague was shocking and immediately suspicious.
I took the allegations very seriously and prepared to pursue whatever action necessary to address them. I was in the process of gathering the facts and speaking to colleagues who could assist when I received a call from the Washington Post making clear that Senator Reeve’s campaign had gone to them and was urging them to write the story. This was well in advance of the threatened New Year deadline and reinforced my suspicion that this was not at all what it seemed.
I later learned that a lawyer working for Senator Reeves had disseminated a memo to reporters across the state that included partial and incorrect information related to the matter, including wrong addresses, a misstatement of times based on a lack of understanding of UTC time, and including an unwarranted and blatant violation of the privacy of our former neighbors, who were without question away at the time these events occurred.
This was disturbing to a lot people who did not deserve to be maligned in the media. They are not political figures and have every right under the law to pursue legal action for a reckless and intentional effort to disseminate statewide to every blog and media outlet scurrilous information and allegations. There were even attempts to hire PR firms to push the story.
With that said, below is a statement of the facts as we know them today, that have not been reported or have been reported incompletely:
· There is no evidence that any of the Vogel family cell phones accessed or verified the Gmail account in question. Senator Reeves stated that there was such evidence on the John Fredericks Radio Show on January 3, 2017, but no such evidence exists.
· On January 3, 2017, Senator Reeves was not truthful when he denied the extortion and threat to go to media if Senator Vogel did not get out of the race. Reporters had confirmed this on background at the time with Senate colleagues who have direct knowledge of the demands made by Senator Reeves.
· Despite Senator Reeves insistence of widespread dissemination, the physical evidence publicly available shows that the Gmail account in question was used to send two emails- both to close friends. It was solely Senator Reeves’ actions in urging the media to publish the email that allowed for wider dissemination. It was entirely avoidable.
· As reported by the Washington Post, despite having secured household networks, the actual wi-fi access to the internet in the neighborhood was unsecured. This unsecured wi-fi can be accessed around two houses and two roads in the immediate area of the homes.
· The Gmail account was accessed on three days—on 9/22/16 on 9/30/16 and 10/1/16. Using the EST time stamp on these log ins (not the UTC), it has been established that at 9:57 am on 9/22/16, Senator Vogel was in Fredericksburg meeting with a supporter and her husband was at a meeting at their children’s school which is in Middleburg. At the time the account was accessed on 9/22/16, Senator Vogel was in Northern Virginia preparing for an event. Her husband was participating in a conference call for work. On 9/30/16, the Vogels were at a nephew’s birthday party in Mt. Jackson, Virginia when the account was accessed. On the date and time of the final access to this account on 10/01/16 at 7:23pm, Senator Vogel was at a dinner in Richmond, also attended by Senator Reeves, photos of which are online.
This is what we know at this point and it may be all we ever know. To be clear, because we could not have possibly opened the account in question, it raises the involvement of a third party and one would have to believe that we instructed a third party to go to our neighborhood and access the wi-fi and a bogus Gmail account. This is just too fantastic to be credible and would seem to be what a person would do if they wanted to be accused.
I am disappointed that Senator Reeves would not have come to me first to alert me to the matter, when instead it was exploited for political reasons and to cast others in a false light. It is clear from the evidence that we were likely victims of a political stunt, but absent such reckless handling, it was a stunt that could have been managed with far less damage and impact.
Senator Reeves and I have been together all week as we prepared to launch the Senate session. He is my colleague and we will continue to work closely together through this legislative process. I am not interested in engaging or even dignifying some of the unbecoming discourse that has been pushed as part of the matter. Unfortunately, some believe that this is how politics should work and that is the saddest part of all. I am excited to be in Richmond now for the Senate session to do great work for our communities around Virginia and to promote our message in the next election. That is the collegial and cooperative effort that our supporters deserve and to which I will always be committed, no matter what the attacks.
Senator Jill Vogel represents the 27th Senate District and is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.